Gov. Bob McDonnell’s vast transportation initiative was advanced in the General Assembly Wednesday, earning passage from the Virginia House of Delegates Finance Committee.
The committee voted 14-8 in favor of House Bill 2313, which would finance McDonnell’s proposal. The legislation will go before the Senate Finance Committee Thursday, according to multiple media outlets.
The Republican governor’s plan, which he’s dubbed “Virginia’s Road to the Future,” includes eliminating the state’s 17.5-cent-per-gallon gas tax and increasing Virginia’s sales and use tax nearly one percent.
McDonnell said Wednesday’s vote was “first positive step” toward finding a sustainable transportation funding solution for the commonwealth’s under-serviced road network.
“The can has been kicked for too long, and Virginians deserve a modern, well-funded transportation system that will get them to work and home on time, without delay. This first vote clearly demonstrates a growing, and bipartisan, consensus that transportation is a core function of government and our investments in building and maintaining our highways, transit systems and railroads is of utmost importance to the citizens of Virginia,” McDonnell said in a prepared statement. “Now, I look forward to continuing to work with legislators in both chambers, and from both parties, to see this plan passed into law, and get traffic moving again in Virginia.”
“Virginia’s Road to the Future” would provide more than $3.1 billion in transportation funding for the commonwealth over the next five years, according to McDonnell’s office, including $1.8 billion for new construction, ending the state’s crossover problem, in which money meant for construction is currently diverted to simple maintenance.
The transportation pitch would also increase the vehicle registration fee by $15, with the revenue going toward intercity passenger rail and transit, and impose a $100 annual fee on alternative fuel vehicles, also to be used for transit.
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